Cross country

Today’s guest picture comes from Gavin, who had the energy to go and admire the River Annan in full spate yesterday.

Annan in flood

The weather was quite a bit kinder today which was fortunate as we had a 65 mile to Berwick-on-Tweed on the menu.  It hardly rained all day and the wind was very meek.

We set off after breakfast and made a brief stop in Hawick to pick up a cup which had been engraved for Mrs Tootlepedal.  She won it at the Langholm Show in the autumn for a splendid embroidery depicting the nuns in the Sound of Music following every rainbow….and climbing every mountain…and crossing every stream.   There was a lot of work in it.

We motored on past Kelso and over the Tweed into England at Coldstream until we arrived safely at Berwick.

Berwick and Coldstream
Berwick and and the bridge at Coldstream we crossed to get to it.

It is a geographical anomaly that although Scotland as a country is to the north of England, Berwick, the northernmost town in England is quite a long way to the  north of Langholm, one of the southernmost towns in Scotland.  This is because the powers that be foolishly ran the boundary down the middle of a river so that people who live in the in the same valley live in two different countries.

Still, it is a very pleasant drive.

We met our daughter Annabel bang on schedule and had a cup of reviving coffee followed by a quick tour of riverside Berwick.

The Tweed at Berwick
The old road bridge across the fast flowing Tweed.
Three bridges
The old bridge, the new bridge and the famous railway bridge.

The town is surrounded by a defensive wall and as you walk along below it, there are many little entries.

Berwick walls

We walked up onto the wall at Sandgate.

Berwick wall

You can walk right wound the town.  I quote from the visit Northumberland websiteL

Berwick actually has two sets of walls, the first – of which only fragments now remain – was built by Edward II, and was two and a half miles long.
The second set of walls is a mile and three-quarter in length. The ramparts completely surround the town, and there are only four gates through the walls.
Berwick’s wall is now the only intact Elizabethan town wall remaining in England and when it was built in 1558 – designed to keep out the marauding Scots who regularly laid claim to the town – it was the most expensive undertaking of England’s golden age.
The walls were built to an Italian design and contained bastions which were designed to give fire cover for every part of the wall.
Outside the curtain wall, as well as round the bastions, there were wide ditches kept full of water in order to deter potential invaders.

What the website doesn’t say is that they were never used in anger which may be why they have survived so well.

We didn’t walk round them as we wanted to drive south down the North Sea coast before lunch.  We were thinking of looking at Holy Island but as it started to rain heavily, we passed that by and stopped at Bamburgh Castle instead.

We had an exciting moment on the way.

This was an east coast mainline train whizzing by. It is the only state owned railway company in the country and is both popular and profitable.  Since this is an offence to the beliefs of the present government, they are going to sell it….probably to a state owned railway company of France or Germany.  This presumably makes sense to someone but not to me.

By the time we got to Bamburgh, the rain had stopped and we went for a walk round the castle.

Bamburgh castle

We followed a path through the sand dunes to the right of the castle.

Bamburgh beach

There were a good many others who were enjoying a walk too but there was plenty of room for us all.

You can see one of the Farne islands in the background.
You can see one of the Farne islands in the background.

I was beginning to regret that I had not brought a camera with me and was having to rely on my phone.

Turning back from the sea, the castle looked impressive on its rock.

Bamburgh castle

We went back to the dunes and followed a good path right round the castle and back to the car.

We were looking for a place for lunch so we drove inland towards the Cheviot Hills and the little town of Wooler.  We passed a really elegant bridge over the River Till on our way.

River Till

Once in Wooler,  we found just the place….

Wooler cafe

…unassuming in appearance but warm and comfortable inside and purveying first class egg, sausage, black pudding and chips for our lunch.

After lunch, we had a stroll round the town to shake the chips down and noticed that Wooler seemed to have a lot of churches.  We were admiring this one…

Wooler church

..when the lady whom you can see in the picture, came up and remarked that it was even odder inside.  She told us that the original building had been a simple square box and the tower and the crenellated roof were later additions.  When we looked at the stonework, we could see that she was quite clearly right.

It had some very nice windows round the back.

windows wooler church

The day was drawing on now and we wanted to be home before dark so we got back into the car and headed home.  We made a brief stop again in Hawick, this time to pick up some food from Sainsbury’s.  We were very pleased to see a most unusual sight when we came out.

sunset over Sainsbury's
A touch of blue sky.

The clouds gathered again as we headed south and I really wished that I had had my camera with me as we crossed the Teviot as the colours were terrific.  We stopped for a better look.

Sunset over Teviot

My phone could capture the reflections in the river and the huge puddle in the field beyond it but it couldn’t record the glimpse of blue sky at the heart of the brightness behind.  It is a lesson to me not to come out without a good camera in hand or pocket.  It was a glorious sight though and I will have to be content with just seeing it.

We reluctantly got back in the car and completed our journey.  The timing was very neat and we arrived just as the last of the daylight faded away.

We all agreed that it had been a splendid day out and we all collapsed into chairs to recover from it over a nice cup of tea.

There was no time for a flying bird today so I will end on a perching picture of a stonechat at Bamburgh taken by my daughter with her new camera.  This is the first one of these that I have ever knowingly seen.









Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Cross country

  1. They were all still good phone photos. Love the little stonechat. Everywhere is so close over your neck of the woods :D. We have to travel 55kms to see the nearest town here in Australia. I guess that’s not a bad thing all the time either. Thanks again for sharing yours and Mrs Tootlepeddles adventures. Brightens the day 🙂

    1. We think of ourselves as ;living in a fairly well stretched out part of the country with the nearest towns about 20 miles away but our whole country is small compared to yours.

    1. Even better was the fact that we passed an information board saying that we might see a stonechat. This must be the first time that I have ever seen something in real life which one of these info boards promises.

  2. The stonechat is a fitting bird of the day, given this post’s fabulous bridges, walls, castle and church. Three bridges in one photo is something of a triumph.

    I am quite in agreement with you regarding publicly owned services.

  3. Only you and Mrs T could pack so much into one day and make it so interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed following in your footsteps and loved the little bridge and Annie’s perching bird. You are quite correct about the railway, the government is mad in my opinion.

  4. A most interesting day, and your phone camera coped very well. Magnificent sunset. Congratulations once again to Mrs T on winning her cup.

  5. Thanks so much for taking us along on your roadtrip. This is a part of the world we know very well as our family tree has roots in Wooler and so part of our obligatory OE was spent there. Gorgeous photos…would have loved one of the award winning embroidery! Maybe next time 🙂

  6. Please pass on my congratulations and admiration to Mrs Tootlepedal. I am in awe…and also a little jealous of the wonderful craftwork on display at the Show – loved that crocheted bunting!

  7. What a busy day. I have to agree with you about the railways. Many years ago I worked for British Rail, it may not have been perfect but it seems better that the system we have now. The phone camera did admirably. The new update on my phone gives me an option for HDR which really helps with some of the sky pictures. Sadly it turns others to rubbish but, as I keep both photos until I have a chance to look at them on the iPad it works out quite well.

  8. The phone camera worked well….Unusual of you to have left all the others behind! It is marvelous that our phones do take such good photos these days! Love that sunset over Sainsburys and the train was fun to see!

    1. The phone works well in certain situations but a camera is better. I don’t know what came over me to leave it behind……I do know, it’s called old age.

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